Shag Beer's name shocks Minister
The name and marketing slogans of Shag bottled beer have so offended our State's Gaming and Racing Minister Grant McBride that he has threatened to ban the sale of the Dutch brew in New South Wales.
"I'm outraged by this product," he said. "To name the product Shag links it directly with sexual intercourse - and that's not on. It is irresponsible to link alcohol and sex so blatantly. It flies in the face of safe sex and responsible drinking campaigns that various governments have been advocating for the last 20 years."
The Sydney Sun-Herald's State political editor, Alex Mitchell wrote:
According to a US website, the beer is sold internationally by Terry Ball's Rebell Holdings company as Shag. Advertisements feature a bottle of the beer on the back seat of a car and the catchphrase: "Fancy a Shag?" Mr Ball insists the beer is named after the bird of the same name.
A spokeswoman for Shag's Australian distributor, the Kollaras Group, expressed surprise that the beer's name had caused a shindy. "It's named after a shag, the bird, which features on the label," she said. The imported lager had been on sale in Sydney and Wollongong since last year. It costs $30 a carton.
Not surprisingly, Mr McBride's proposed ban has evoked worldwide mirth. An internet search reveals these comments:
And on Sydney talkback radio, someone said that if the minister bans Shag beer, what will he do about another popular drink, root beer?
Root beer, also known as horehound (the minister might think that could be spelt whorehound) is sold under numerous brand names in many parts of the world. It has been called "a classic North American soft drink." I can remember draught root beer being served in horehound bars at Sydney railway stations many years ago.
We believe the word shag is less offensive in the U.S. than in other English-speaking countries. Austin Powers, a fictitious sex-mad 1960s secret agent created by Mike Myers, popularised the term shagadelic in three hit movies, including The Spy Who Shagged Me. Singapore authorities briefly changed its title to The Spy Who Shioked Me. (Shioked: treated nicely.) Powers' CIA colleague was felicitously named ... Felicity Shagwell.